The High Line NY

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    Is this one of the more complete designs?
    I’m trying to critique this design, but couldn’t find much to do so.
    I read an article from Landscape Architecture Magazine about taking it’s original natural essence.
    Also found issues with the wood they you used as it came from the rain forest area.
    I was wandering if anyone had critical thoughts about this design

    Trace One

    I have two comments on the Highl Line design – I think ‘feathered paving’ is a very weak design element, difficult to maintain, prone to construction problems, and something that looks better in plan than when walking with one’s grandmother.. Secondly, I think the big weird benches look uncomfortable and inappropriate..To me, these are signs that the design will not wear well, and in a city that has so many incredible classical, well-designed parks, this one overall looks weak.
    Just my humble..
    But asking for design criticism is red meat – or lets say, nice grilled vegetables, for me..Thanks!

    Jason T. Radice

    Corner is known for his ‘ecological’ types of plantings. The High Line is one of the most intensely cultivated parts of NYC. It just looks naturalistic. The special soils, the irrigation, the constant pruning, thinning, and weeding…its no more natural than Central Park. Pieces of it are already falling apart due to poor construction details and practices. The wooden decking (Ipe, I think) has huge gaps in the joints on the ends of the boards because the hidden attachment system allowed the boards to slip. The expansion joints in the concrete “fingers” are every excessive and very wide, that is one detail that could have been handled much better. Once walking on the platform, you get about halfway and say “this is it?” It is an attraction right now because it is new and different, but in a few years, it will likely suffer from disuse, especially in the summer.

    Trace One

    I think that is a really important point, Jason, how high-maintenance his design is, just to appear natural.. This goes against the basic tenets of ecological design, sustainable design. He would have been better off creating some kind of matrix and letting volunteers be cultivated – the ‘tree that grew in brooklyn’ was an Ailanthus, after all..

    Ryland Fox

    I guess it depends on how you want to critique it. It is the only piece of landscape architecture that I have ever seen non-industry related people post about on Facebook so in that sense it is pretty successful.

    Thomas J. Johnson

    As noted earlier, it’s interesting that the design strives to recapture the condition of the tracks after they had gone unused for decades, only with a veneer of “style”. Urban decay had given the raised platform a unique character that can only be achieved with time; hardy plants volunteered – taking root in unlikely places, metals developed patina, paint flaked and pealed, graffiti covered accessible walls. It was a unique place that reflected its environment and was “sustainable” or “green”, as-is.

    In order to create a park though, much of the steel-work had to be rebuilt in order to be structurally sound. This seems to contradict the original “sales pitch” of the park, that there would be a park created on the existing elevated track. If the elevated track is rebuilt, is it really the urban reclamation project it claims to be?

    Random observation: The lounges that were custom designed for the site, besides being extremely wood-intensive, look incredibly uncomfortable (hard, flat, wrong scale, oddly angled back rest).

    Something that has been on my mind for a while: The benches for the site, the ones that angle up out of the ground plane and cantilever or “float”, were first used at the 911 Pentagon Memorial. There were several of these benches, their form taken from the tail of a plane, oriented to indicate the flight path the plane took before crashing into the Pentagon. These benches are so unique and particular to the Pentagon site that it begs the question; Is it appropriate to reuse the design elsewhere?

    Their design was informed by a terrible event in American history. While many people who visit High Line would be unaware of the connection, the potential exists to trigger unpleasant memories, anxiety or “flash-backs”. What are the psychological impacts of reusing design elements, in our everyday lives, that are rooted in traumatizing events or memorials to those events? I.E. How can a landscape element that is specific to a place/event/memory (trigger) be re-purposed, creating regular exposure to the trigger and in turn causing the user to frequently re-experience the event, consciously or not… Cue evil genius laughter…

    The Pentagon

    High Line Park

    Trace One

    Yeah, those things you call ‘lounges’ Thomas – I really hate them..Why can we continuously RUIN something as old as a bench, for goodness sakes..I have one college, an LA who does most of our big designs, who has a personal hatred for benches, and will not include them in his designs!..To me that is like a painter hating paint..We are crafts people of the bench, the sitting spot, to sit outside and thiink, or talk, or whatever..
    Mr. Bye said, to design a public park, all you need is a bench stamp and a tree stamp.. I love that..

    Trace One

    ps, good point about the Memorial benches inappropriate use, also , Thomas, but I hate that design in the memorial and hate it in the High Line..What exactly is that design good for? And the people who worked on the Memorial wanted to commemorate the FLIGHT OF THE PLANES? Too weird for me..Let’s see – my parents were crushed by a semi, so I think I will put a huge semi engine on their grave..It’s just wrong, as they say..(my parents were N OT crushed by a semi, just an analogy, if that is the correct term..)

    Thomas J. Johnson

    I don’t mind the “idea” of lounges, it’s just the execution of the lounge that was poorly done, in my opinion. It bears little resemblance/reference to the human form that’s intended to use it. They appear to not be used much, and when they are, you see people in weird positions, looking uncomfortable. You’ll see people using backpacks to create lumbar support/fill the void created by the angle of the backrest. People also have to stick their heels behind their butts, extreme knee articulation, to prevent themselves from sliding down the backrest.

    I do like how they cut out sections of the leg support to create benches for those who want to sit upright. It’s a neat idea but the overall execution seems to place a priority on the design (form) instead of the function (people using them and enjoying themselves)

    Don’t even get me started on the Pentagon memorial. That design is all about reinforcing the story, the mythology, behind the event. “See, look, this is where the ‘plane’ came from”. It would be a far more interesting design if it addressed how an airliner, with a 211 foot wingspan, made it through a field of light poles without knocking them down or how an aluminum plane penetrated 6 feet of steel reinforced concrete, leaving only an 8 foot hole, no wings, no engine, no luggage, no bodies, no contact with the ground, even though the hole was at ground level. So neat, so tidy! Amazing! I just wish we could see the videos over and over again like we do with the towers… but those videos were all immediately confiscated and are being withheld due to “national security”. Uh huh…

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